A guide for foreign investors on the priority & restricted sectors to invest in Oman

Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group PLC has assisted our Clients to identify the optimum investment strategy for their business setup in Oman. Our services include i) Oman business registration; ii) business licensing; iii) Oman corporate banking solutions; iv) visa solutions and staff recruitment strategies and v) virtual office services.

This guide will help international investors to identify key areas in Oman to invest as well as restricted business areas for foreign entrepreneurs.

Following are the priority investment areas in Oman for foreign entrepreneurs:

Investment sectors in Oman open for wholly foreign-owned entities

  1. Free zones with investments mainly focused in the following areas (Royal Decree no. 56/2002 and 67/2003):
    • Metal and steel;
    • Fisheries and food sector;
    • Chemical and material processing;
    • Manufacturing and assembly;
    • Logistics and distribution;
    • Filters and petrochemicals sector;
    • Tourism.
  2. Foreign investments contributing towards economic development of Oman
    • These investments are mainly in manufacturing or large infrastructure projects;
    • This is subject to i) receiving recommendation from Ministry of Commerce and Industry and ii) an approval from the Oman cabinet of ministers;
    • Minimum share capital requirement of OMR500,000 must be satisfied.
  3. Integrated tourism complexes (Royal Decree No. 12/2006)
    • Enables non-Omani nationals to fully own real estate in Oman.
  4. For all entities and/or national of United States of America (US-Oman FTA dated 1st January 2009)
    • US- nationals are only allowed to own a maximum of 70% of the company’s shares in the legal services sector.
  5. For all entities and/or nationals belonging to the GCC states (Royal Decree No. 102/1994):
    • 2 or more GCC nationals can fully own an Omani LLC;
    • 1 GCC national and 1 Omani national can own an Omani LLC where the GCC national can own a maximum of 50% of the shares company.
  6. Electric and telecommunications services;
  7. A registered subsidiary and branch of the foreign company.

Investment sectors in Oman where no wholly foreign owned entities are allowed

– only joint ventures with a 30% local shareholding* are allowed (Royal Decree No. 102/1994)

  1. Oil and gas (Royal Decree No. 8/2011);
  2. Construction and infrastructure;
  3. Tourism;
  4. Banking and capital markets;
  5. Manufacturing and processing;
  6. Fishing and food processing;
  7. Mining and exploitation.

Investment sectors in Oman where no wholly foreign owned entities are allowed

– only joint ventures with a 51% local shareholding* are allowed

  1. Commercial agency (Royal Decree No. 26/1977)
    • Omani nationals must be appointed as the designated commercial agents;
    • Importation, distribution and promotion of goods and/or supplying of services in Oman;
    • Upon MCI’s approval the local shareholding can be reduced to 30% as well.

Note:* The above stated local shareholding condition can be satisfied by either a i) Omani national; ii) GCC national or iii) US national.

Following are the investment sectors in Oman closed for foreign companies:

Investment sectors in Oman where no foreign-owned entities allowed

– only local shareholders can conduct such business activities*

  1. Real estate and brokerage services (Royal Decree No. 78/2000)
    • Non-Omani companies and individuals are allowed to own real estate only in Integrated Tourism Complexes.
  2. General trade and services (Royal Decree No. 4/74);
  3. Sole proprietorships.

Note:* The above stated local shareholding condition can be satisfied by either a i) Omani national; ii) GCC national or iii) US national.

Conclusion

Contact us if you require Healy Consultants Group PLC’s assistance to determine the optimum investment strategy for your Oman business setup.

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For additional information on our investment strategy services in Oman, please contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Petar Chakarov, directly:
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